Pollution: Begin medical audit of Ogoni people, group charges Nigerian govt

Skynewsafrica Pollution: Begin medical audit of Ogoni people, group charges Nigerian govt


The people of Ogoni in Nigeria’s south-south Rivers State, has called on the Federal Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company to immediately commence an urgent medical audit in Ogoniland.

The people, who made this call on the platform of Ogoni Liberation Initiative, also restated their call on the federal government and Shell to pay the sum of N4 trillion as compensation for the environmental degradation of the area.

Speaking with newsmen in Bori, the headquarters of Khana LGA in Rivers State, President of the group, Douglas Fabeke, pointed out that the call for an emergency medical/health audit became necessary as a result of the polluted water Ogoni people were being forced to drink.

Fabeke lamented that despite the recommendation by the United Nations Environment Programme for an alternative water supply due to the massive pollution of the area, nothing like that had been provided.

He said, “The water is still poisonous as a result of oil pollution. The UNEP Report said alternative water supply should be carried out for Ogoni people, but this has not been done. A centre of excellence was also recommended by UNEP, but this has not been implemented.

“The traditional livelihood of the Ogoni people has been destroyed by the massive contamination. Ogoni has paid the high price for the development of Nigeria. Now, Ogoni people is asking for Ogoni development.

“Within the period of 1958 to 1993, when Shell operated here, Ogoni people benefited nothing. We demand that the Government of Nigerian and Shell should carry out emergency medical audit on every son and daughters of Ogoni because of exposure to pollution.”

On why his group demanded N4 trillion as compensation for the degradation of Ogoni environment, Fabeke explained that the people of the area had been going through pollution of their environment since 1958 when Shell began oil exploration in Ogoni.

He said, “We embarked on practical and professional environmental evaluation; oil production started in 1958 and since then, we have been experiencing environmental damage.

“Ken Saro-Wiwa was killed because of the environment. What we did was to carry out an evaluation on the cost of the damage to the Ogoni environment. So, the money we mentioned as expected compensation is a reflection of the level of damage done to our environment.

“We are talking about the environmental damage in the four local government areas of Ogoni and six kingdoms of Ogoniland. It is based on the evaluation in these places that we arrived at N4 trillion as compensation.”

Fabeke pleaded with the Federal Government to put an end to the economic crisis and marginalisation being experienced by Ogoni people, recalling that an Ogoni environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and many others died fighting the crisis in the area.

“There has been economic crisis in Ogoiland and we are talking with government to stop the economic crisis. Ogoni must be free from marginalisation, which our martyrs died for.

“We are calling on the federal government to set up a committee to monitor the implementation of the UNEP report. If it is not properly monitored it may affect the efficiency of the project and affect the trust the people have on the government of the nation,” he added.


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